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Study abroad adviser leaves Elon to work for London program

LeeAnn Schmerber / Reporter

Emma Jones. Elon students involved in study abroad programs have grown accustomed to that name at the end of e-mail messages, as well as her familiar closing: "cheers."

But her cheerful messages are gone now because Jones recently left her job as a study abroad adviser in the Isabella Cannon Centre for International Studies to work for a London-based study abroad program as assistant director for Program Development.  She will travel to the program's affiliated universities and work from home.

With a latte resting on the table, Jones sat contentedly in Acorn Coffee Shop for an interview soon after her last day on campus.  She said she was excited about her new opportunity but knew she would miss Elon.

She has been so comfortable in these surroundings where she has worked the past four years.  In fact, the jovial Jones looked as if she could have been an Elon student working on an assignment or waiting to meet a friend.

Her comfort in talking to a complete stranger about her job revealed her trait as a people person.  As a study abroad adviser, she worked with people all the time, and a diverse range of people at that.  She worked with faculty members from a variety of fields, as well as with students of all majors.

She said she will especially miss working with students who studied abroad for an entire semester.

"Students who go abroad for a semester are interested in the larger world," Jones said.  "It's neat to watch the students' development from the time they leave to the time they get back."

Ask students on campus about their Winter Term or semester abroad trips, and many will answer that the experiences were the best of their lives.  Ask recent Elon graduates about the best thing in their college careers, and many will respond that it was studying abroad.

Jones said she loved being a part of that experience and helping students find the programs that were right for them.

When she met the returning students and heard their stories of discovery and amazement, she said she knew she had done her job.

 Jones will work from home in her new job, but she knows she will miss the constant interactions at the Isabella Cannon Centre.

Currently, the center is bustling as staff members accept Winter Term applications through Friday.  Alana Dunn, junior, works in the study abroad office, and said it is times like these when Jones will be missed.

"She was very knowledgeable and organized," Dunn said.  "I always felt comfortable around her."

Knowledge and organization are vital in assembling study abroad programs, which can take 18 months to prepare alongside faculty members and the center's administrators.

This, said Jones, is when a study abroad adviser needs to enjoy people. He or she is constantly conferring on flights, hotels, transportation, academic intensity and entrance fees. It all takes time, organization and cooperation.  And the fun doesn't end once the trip begins. The adviser's job is to monitor events to make sure things run smoothly and safely.

Sometimes, things don't go as planned.  When poor weather caused flight delays at the start of this Winter Term, Jones found herself watching over the itineraries of about 700 Elon students headed abroad.

"That was definitely the most stressful Winter Term I had," Jones said.  "We were on the phone for nine hours, until four in the morning, making sure that everyone got to their final destinations safely."

And they did. Now the ever-organized Jones has set out on her own new experience, leaving behind her characteristic ending.


Contact LeeAnn Schmerber at or at 278-7247